This is an intensive one-year taught degree course which is intended to give students experience in reading and interpreting a wide range of Armenian texts, from a choice of genres, either as a stand-alone qualification or as a solid foundation in the subject for those intending to go on to do doctoral research.
Within the long span of Armenian history, the study of Armenia at Oxford concentrates on the period when Armenian sources give valuable information not only about Armenian culture itself, but also about neighbouring peoples of the Near East. Emphasis is therefore given to the study of the classical and medieval forms of the language and to Armenian literature from the fifth to the seventeenth centuries.
After an initial introduction to the grammar and syntax of classical Armenian, you will read a variety of texts. An understanding of the literary culture of the period and the historical background is thus obtained directly from the original sources.
You will prepare for four three-hour papers. The first is a core course on the language, literature, history, and culture of Ancient and Medieval Armenia, with the examination paper consisting of essay questions. You are generally required to answer three questions out of ten or so that are set.
The remaining three papers are core courses on key Armenian literary genres. For these papers you must choose to study texts in three of the following subjects: biblical texts; homiletic and polemical literature; hagiographic texts; historical literature of the 5th-9th centuries; historical literature of the 10th-14th centuries; religious and secular verse; or any other subject approved by the Faculty Board. The examination of these papers will consist of passages to be translated in the three types of text chosen by you, with brief questions on the background, content or grammar of the passages set. An oral examination (viva voce) may form part of the examination.
Teaching offered consists of classes and tutorials and may include lectures and seminars.
The allocation of graduate supervision for this course is the responsibility of the Faculty of Oriental Studies and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff. Under exceptional circumstances a supervisor may be found outside the Faculty of Oriental Studies.